My husband is the breadwinner in more ways than one. His income is what supports us and keeps us in the manner to which we have grown accustomed. But he also makes a damn good loaf. I cannot be bothered with the faff of dough – mixing, kneeding, proving. Far too energetic and far too long to wait. The food I make tends to be pretty fast. Bread just takes too long. Unless you have a husband* to do it all for you, of course. So he makes the dough, we all pile in to help with the stuffing, then I do the cooking.
This recipe is by the Silver Fox of the baking world, Paul Hollywood. It was in one of those freebie booklets that come as a supplement with the Sunday papers. We hung onto it purely for this recipe alone. Paul’s recipe is for stilton and grape flatbreads but my kids find blue cheese a little too strong, so we made up our own fillings to suit. The recipe makes 12 so we did four brie and grape, four cheddar and chutney, and four goats’ cheese and redcurrant jelly.
You can stuff them with anything you like really. Cheese, ham and mushroom would be good. Or fresh slices of cherry tomato, mozzarella and torn basil leaves. Or feta and olives. Or mango chutney and coriander flatbreads would be great with a curry. Anyway, make it up as you go. That’s what we do!
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
310ml cool water
Olive oil for cooking
250g of cheese (we used some brie, cheddar and goats’ cheese)
8 grapes, halved
4 tsp caramelised onion chutney
4 tsp redcurrant jelly
1. Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side. Add the butter and three-quarters of the water and mix with your fingers to bring the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water, a little bit at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need all the water, or you may need a little more. Just use your own judgement. You want the dough to be soft but not soggy.
2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. At first it’ll be a bit wet and messy but keep going until it becomes soft and smooth.
3. When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave it to rise. It needs to be at least doubled in size. It could take an hour or up to 3 hours.
4. Tip the dough out again onto a floured surface. Fold it inwards on itself until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth again. Divide into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
5. Make a dent in each ball and stuff it with about a tablespoon of cheese and either 4 grapes halves or a teaspoon of chutney/jelly. Pinch the dough together over the filling to seal it in.
6. Press each filled dough ball gently with your hands and then roll it with a rolling pin until it’s about 18cm in diameter. The innards will get all squishy and some might leak. This is fine. Just use some extra flour to stop it sticking to the rolling pin.
7. Last stage! Heat some oil in a pan on a fairly high heat. Fry each flatbread for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and fluffy.
Mr Hollywood wisely tells us to let them cool a bit for jamming them into our faces. Turns out grapes are like burning lava from the pits of Hades if you eat them straight from the pan. Serve with dips or salad.